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Wait, What? Ep. 135: Err Travel

Jeff Lester

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From the entertainingly wrong-headed Secret Society of Super-Villains trade paperback.

I am so bummed I made that reference to the opening of “Don’t Believe The Hype” a few weeks back, because now that I’ve got a trip coming up I could’ve made a “I’ve got so much travel on my mind” pun…but now, no, I can’t.

Anyway, after the jump, show notes for this late-to-bed, early-to-rise episode of Wait, What?

Yes, well, once again, under the gun, you know how it goes.  Got less than 48 hours to hop on a plane and have easily 48+ hours worth of chores, so:

0:00-4:28: Greetings! And greetings! And greetings! A plan thwarted, and more non-comics talk.
4:28-25:32: Comics–we do remember to discuss them relatively quickly into the process.  We start with DC’s attempted homicide of Graeme via Villains Month comp copies.  (If you listen carefully around the 6:34 mark, you can hear the strange corduroyesque whiffle of comics with the 3-D covers being pushed around).  Discussed: Darkseid, Reverse Flash, The Court of Owls, H’el, Cheetah, Lobo, Harley Quinn, The Riddler, and more.
25:32-33:19: Graeme re-read Forever Evil #1, and then read the deluxe edition of JLA: Earth Two; the Black Manta Villains Month issue; and what the fuck is up with Aquaman’s villains, generally.
33:19-44:33: Jeff asks Graeme about Infinity since that is a thing he can do.  Graeme moves very quickly from there to Mighty Avengers by Al Ewing and Greg Land–you may be surprised by which member of that team we spend the most time talking about!  Also, for those of you, like Graeme, who were not aware of the Hungarian suicide song Jeff references, you can check it out here.
44:33-48:17: Jeff can’t talk about Mighty Avengers by Al Ewing, but he can talk about Mars Attacks Judge Dredd by Al Ewing and John McCrea.
48:17-1:04:28: Also covered from the amazing week of comics that was our week off:  Murder She Writes by John Allison; 2000AD Prog #1850, featuring Damnation Station by Al Ewing and Mark Harrison; what is happening with the Megazine; and the differences between what sells in American comics as opposed to British comics; whether or not a bi-monthly book might work in the  direct market; and more!
1:04:28-1:29:01: Jeff purchased and took delight in the very consistent awfulness of The Secret Society of Super-Villains trade paperback, by Gerry Conway, Pablo Marcos, David Kraft, Bob Rozakis, Rich Buckler, Bob Layton and more.  Hopefully, I have the wherewithal to put up the photos I took of some of these pages because they are pretty amazing. Oh wait, here are a couple that we do indeed reference in our talk:

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Darkseid, his dramatic potential fully realized by Pablo Marcos, Ernie Chua, and Vince Colletta;

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Face forward, true believers! I think this is a deliberate spoof of Kirby poses; Graeme was thinking Gil Kane (by Rich Buckler and Bob Layton);

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And speaking of True Believers, Funky Flashman is in most of these issues and by the end, the visual reference used is, uh, pretty darn direct (by Rich Buckler and Bob Layton)

Also included: an all-too-brief discussion of Marvel’s similarly addled Super-Villain Team-Up (no accompanying visuals, alas).
1:29:01-1:49:32:  One book that both Graeme and I read this week (and–spoiler!–enjoyed) the first issue of Zero by Ales Kot, art by Michael Walsh, colors by Jordie Bellaire.  And Jeff thinks Graeme would really enjoy the “jam” issue of Prophet by Brandon Graham and everybody else.  Leads to a discussion about comic book writers, writers who write visually, and writers who are interested in created uniquely visual works.  How does this lead us back to the discussion of the ads in the Villains Month 3-D books as opposed to the 2-D books?  I’m editing this, and even I don’t know.
1:49:32-2:01:04: That does lead us into a discussion of the ads in Batman ’66, which are different. The advantage to this is, we get to talk about all the delightful stuff Jeff Parker and assorted artists are doing on Batman 66. Also covered: the Top Shelf sale that was going on while we recorded, and is still going on as this first gets posted. And that leads us to talking about the stuff available digitally for 2000AD, and comparing the prices for day-and-date-DRM’d digital subscription, and the DRM-free direct from the digital store stuff.
2:01:04-end:  Closing comments!  We are very confused about our recording schedule since Jeff will be traveling to New York.  We…think we will be back next week?

Anyway, that’s the name of that tune, as Robert Blake used to say back in the days when he was quaint and not utterly terrifying.  You can find the ep. on iTunes and you can find it here.  The choice…is yours!

Wait, What? Ep. 135: Err Travel


22 Responses to “ Wait, What? Ep. 135: Err Travel ”

  1. In regards to your comments about DC’s established New 52 mythos not lining up with the storyline in Justice League 23.1, Kaiyo, who at this point we must assume is Darkseid’s daughter, is the whole reason that Darkseid is made aware of other realities that contain Superman. She, uh I guess, trips the Para-Demons, then laughs about it and teleports away to another dimension. This is how Darkseid discovers Earth 2, which he promptly destroys. Basically, he’s chasing her through dimensions and keeps stumbling across versions of the Justice League. Yeah, it’s a thin plot device and even kinda Silver Age goofy but that’s the plot, for better or worse. Maybe, I just remembered it because I literally read the issue a few hours ago but all of that stuff IS in the .1 issue.

  2. “Jeff asks Graeme about Infinity since that is a thing he can do. Graeme moves very quickly from there to Mighty Avengers by Al Ewing and Greg Land–you may be surprised by which member of that team we spend the most time talking about!”

    So…you guys are talking about Marvel. You said you wouldn’t for the rest of the month. Someone tell Perry Taliaferr from the last comments section that he can come back to the podcast.

  3. I can’t seem to look away from Pablo Marcos’ Darkseid. It’s hard to place, but I definitely know that guy in real life.

  4. Clickwheel (owned by rebellion) offers 2000ad digital subs for £62.49/year or £5.74/month. Individual progs are £1.49. The megazine is £1.99/issue, and comes with the gn too. More of a selection on clickwheel, too.

  5. Boo, I really liked Sub Diego!

    And honestly, SSOV trade, since when did Gregory Reed wear a Superman head mask? Wasn’t it his resemblance to Supie that got him the part?

    @jakeumms It hadn’t crossed my mind that Kaiyo (POW!) was Darkseid’s daughter – I’d expect Miss Darkseid to be more physically imposing. But it could be … roll on some revelations in Vibe.

  6. I think “Jeff and Graeme describe terrible comics” may be one of my favorite recurring segments on this podcast. It never fails to make me want to read this stuff.

    Aquaman definitely needs better villains – in fact, in honor of Villains’ Month, I’m willing to donate a free villain concept to DC right now! DC editors, I know you’re out there – take it and do with it what you will!

    – New Aquaman villain: LANDMAN, the secret, mystical offspring of a human, landbound woman and a human, landbound man, Landman hates the sea and claims to be the heir to an ancient above-water kingdom which he calls “Notlantis.” Super-powers: very strong – but not that strong – and very fast – but not that fast – Landman also possesses the power to communicate with bears and large cats.

    And as a bonus, I also offer to DC Entertainment the following properties:

    – New Flash villain: THE REVERSE REVERSE FLASH. Has the power to move at super-speed – but only while moving backwards. Has developed a fierce hatred of those he calls “the front-walkers.” Can only be stopped by randomly placed furniture, boxes, loose rugs, etc., which fall into his path.

  7. Umm… No picture of Graeme in that Aquaman shirt? For shame.

    Also, either talk about Marvel, or don’t. Don’t half-talk about it. Don’t not-talk about it. Leave the enormous Thanos shaped elephant in the room alone or kill it for good. Don’t go full Orwell, shooting it in the mouth leaving it gasping for life, gushing blood and waiting to be torn apart by starving Burmans, leaving behind more questions than answers for Whatnauts floating through Infinity space.

    Some questions raised: Why boycott Marvel and not DC? Why not become an indie/oldies podcast?

    I love all of the Wait, What? talk from big 2 to webcomics to recounting entire Jack Kirby issues. I appreciate the depth of discussion, the idle musings, the love and hate, as long as it is informed and committed.

    Thanks as always for an otherwise great podcast though. Always look forward to it! My curse is I care too much!

    P.S. Put harder math problems for comment posts. It would filter out idiots like me. N9ne + one = 10

  8. Now that there are already two comments talking about Jeff’s Marvel boycott in the middle of this, our no-Marvel-for-Jeff month, I feel the need to say that I think there’s a segment of the commenters here who are way more interested in Jeff’s Marvel boycott than Jeff himself, and make a much larger issue of it than it needs to be. For me, I honestly don’t care how Jeff does or does not go about his purchasing habits, how arbitrary or consistent they are, or so forth – and I feel like a lot of reaction to Jeff’s Marvel boycott, from the time when it first came up, was the reaction a vegetarian gets from the occasional weirdly-defensive meat-eater: “What? You don’t eat meat? Why? Well, do you eat fish? Why not? Well, plants are alive too. Why do you still eat plants?” Why does it matter? It’s not like he’s going house to house trying to force-feed people falafel, he’s just changing his own eating habits; why is this suddenly a subject of debate?

    Similarly, Jeff isn’t campaigning among listeners for everyone to boycott Marvel; he himself has personally stopped buying Marvel products, for his own reasons. He’s been pretty up front about the fact that he feels more of a connection to Marvel than to DC, and therefore more of a sense of betrayal from them. He’s not laying out an argument for everyone in the world to stop buying Marvel products, according to some set of universal principles that holds for every industry or company in the world. This has been Jeff’s personal reaction, and I don’t think he’s ever pretended it’s been anything else.

    To the extent that Jeff was getting free comics from listeners, it was largely, as far as I can tell, so that we listeners could hear his take on various Marvel comics. I, like most listeners of this podcast I imagine, enjoyed those conversations. And I think a weird dynamic developed among a certain section of commenters, where the fact that Jeff was bending the rules of his boycott for the sake of podcast listeners became an opportunity to play gotcha. The complaint becomes “Oh, but you’re still reading Marvel!” And once Jeff announced that he would neither be buying Marvel nor reading or talking about Marvel, we got commenters who responded with, “Well, if you’re not talking about Marvel, then I’m not listening anymore!” And now there’s an additional level of gotcha going on now that Jeff is no longer reading or talking about Marvel, but Graeme – who was never boycotting anything – is discussing Marvel.

    This is a lot of anxiety and mental exertion to spend on somebody else’s shopping habits. And to me, it seems a lot like the dude at the picnic who spends way too long pestering someone about why they’re eating veggie burgers.

  9. And now I regret talking about the boycott for fear that this will be another Boycott Thread. I apologize, universe!

  10. @Everyone: Apparently, I am a dunce and completely misunderstood the nature of the agreement made: I thought *I* was not going to read any Marvel books for a month. When I bring up Infinity, Graeme is clearly confused, so I think that points to the idea referenced by others here…but I don’t quite see how me not reading Marvel books (and thus not able to damn them or praise them) means that Graeme is also constrained.

    Anyway, that was my thinking and, unless Graeme has a problem with it, will probably continue to be the case for the next two or three podcasts. Sorry for those who have a problem with it but it strikes me as a proper balance.

  11. I was going to post here, but I’ve decided to boycott posting. No, this post doesn’t count.

    Oh, I also want to say that I enjoyed the episode, especially the review of those wonderful Villains Month issues. And, yes, that issue of Prophet was a lot of fun.

    Okay, I’m done now. Back to boycotting.

  12. Yeah, can I second that emotion? I, for one, could give a rat’s ass about the inconsistencies of Jeff’s boycott, and I’m willing to bet everyone in the audience is cranky enough to have at least once vowed they were no longer spending money at some shop/restaurant for some fairly arbitrary reason (e.g., “the waiter was a dick,” “the clerk had never even heard of WATCHMEN,” etc.) It’s the nature of boycotts and calling out bad actors that it’s sometimes pretty arbitrary. For example, there’s been a lot of shaming of McDonald’s lately for their shitty treatment of employees, but it’s probably just the most prominent, visible example of an industry trend, and may even be far from the worst example. So talk about Marvel, don’t talk about Marvel, or just go back to the old system where Jeff expresses dumfounded amazement as Graeme gleefully describes the latest incomprehensible twist from the House of Spent Ideas.

    In other news, thank you, thank you for the head’s up on the Top Shelf sale — Alan Moore’s UNEARTHING for 3 lousy bucks + S&H? Holee mocha crappe.

    And yes, more “Jeff & Graeme talk about godawful comix.” I’m almost tempted to pick up that SSoV travesty just for the context of that teaser image. I’d love to hear your takes on some of the hot-potato titles from the early ’70s Marvel-era expansion with ever shifting lineups — the MORBIUS run in Adventure into Fear, say, or SKULL THE SLAYER. Or an in-depth review of those gleefully batshit ESSENTIAL MARVEL HORROR collections.

  13. Oh, and speaking of a previous installment of “Jeff talks about batshit comics,” I recently read the Gerber Phantom Zone mini – and it is flat-out AMAZING. Wonderfully weird, goofball stuff – basically, it’s Gerber mixing horror in with his usual bizarre neurotic/psychologically-driven adventure stuff, all in the context of early 80s Superman comics, which makes for absolutely bonkers reading.

  14. So you can link to the song that will make me kill myself, but I have to do all that extra typing to find the Top Shelf sale? I see how it is.

    I’m picking up Gingerbread Girl on your recommendation, so Paul Tobin owes Graeme another nickel.

  15. I’m writing this before you talk about UK comics and US serialization conversation is over, so there’s a risk I’m repeating something you’ll say in 30 seconds, but hey, it’s the Internet. Here’s to living dangerously.
    The elephants in the room are format and sales-model, right? The UK strips can do what they do because they come out quick and in short bits, and because the periodical in which they’re packaged serves as a brand, and to an extent as a seal of approval. Basically, the brand takes the onus of selling off the retailer. Moreover, the anthology format allows you to have the best of both worlds: Self contained stories and ongoing serials co-exist. Unfortunately, anthologies have a poor record for sales in the US, as do magazine formatted books. Heavy Metal and Raw are the only successes that come immediately to mind. But who knows, maybe Michael Fiffe or Brandon Graham or Frank Santoro will make it happen. Those dudes know from comics.

  16. Great call on Zero. That is a great comic book issue. My only complaint is that those characters should use contractions in their dialogue and narration. (Smallness of complaint indicates goodness of the comic.)

    On locating the art style, it’s solidly in the Toth-via-Mazzuchelli tradition that seams to be gaining steam these days. That’s the Aja connection. Where they come apart is that Aja is playing much more with the Steranko vibe that is a subdued but very real presence in, say, Born Again.

    Whatever the lineage, you gotta love art that makes you feel the violence as viscerally as this.

  17. Thanks for the heads-up on the Top Shelf sale! I’m off to take a look after I post here…

    I also picked up the Phantom Zone trade and loved it. Gerber & Colan crafted a fun bit of weirdness, and I didn’t find it off-putting. The DC Comics Presents chapter, however, was disturbing. That it can stand as the last pre-Crisis DC story makes it even more potent.

    The SSoSV discussion was hilarious. You know what’s kind of rough but I can’t stop reading? Marvel Comics Presents. I got the first two dozen issues for peanuts, and they’re fascinating. A Claremont, Buscema, & Janson Wolverine story that’s exactly what you would expect in 1988. Gerber takes on the Iran-Contra scandal using Man-Thing. Don McGregor, Gene Colan, and Tom Palmer begin a loooong Black Panther story set in South Africa during the apartheid days. Lots of early Scott Lobdell. A typically heavy-handed Ann Nocenti story starring Colossus. Random Steve Ditko stories. I think I enjoy it more now than I would have as a kid.

  18. Glad I’m not the only one who thought, “Her name sounds like a sound cue in Mortal Kombat” about Kaiyo!

    I kind of put my fingers in my ears and went “la la la LAAAH” about the Marvel talk/no-talk discussion, because prefer to keep this my happy place. But I for one would be just fine with the podcast sticking to Graeme reading Marvel releases and then hilariously describing them to Jeff.

    And I’m also glad you guys talked up John Allison’s work. I hopped on his web comics a few years ago and spent an enjoyable few hours reading from the first (very different art process) pages. And I’ve worn some of his t-shirts — not his own actual shirts, but the ones he’s designed — to great effect. His “If it ain’t Dewey Decimal, it ain’t worth a damn!” was a big hit at my graduate department (which was, ages ago, the library school).

  19. You can also pick up a huge amount of 2000AD stuff on Amazon for Kindle for $9.99USD include the Indigo Prime, and the collected case files.

  20. Whoa, you weren’t kidding about Fraction’s Sex Criminals being structured, at least at the open, like his Hawkeye.

    Hope these aren’t spoilers, since these go no farther than page 3:

    — “I know this looks bad”/”I know how this looks”
    — falling out a window, broken glass

    Not to take away from either book, of course.

  21. Yeah, but I think the comparison is fairly superficial — Hawkeye’s narrative gimmicks are a lot more familiar, a stylish voiceover / timeshifting facade on a fairly straightforward genre piece. Sex Criminals #1 is a lot more formally inventive, with the tricksy layers of the fourth-wall breaking narrator observing her own story with ironic distance. And it’s a lot more daring and emotionally involving than *anything* I’ve read by Fraction. He’s a guy where I’ve long been mystified by the reverent, awed praise of his stuff — to me CASANOVA was okay, but read like art-damaged S.H.I.E.L.D. fan fiction, and it was almost kind of counter-intuitively weird to see him dutifully coloring inside the lines of the Marvel U., as it undermined the one trick he was really good at (irreverently blenderizing diverse pop culture influences into a newish thing).

    But I take it all back. Because this really impressed the hell out of me. Fraction’s script is damn fine and Chip Zdarsky really made it *sing* — the script demands the art do a LOT of work to make the concept of the “Quiet” make sense, and to keep straight the various levels of the story, as well as walking the tightrope of an ironic tonality that has to carefully balance tragedy, wonder and farce. This is one of the most impressive and satisfying first issues I’ve read in a long, long time.

  22. “You’re offensive for saying that autistic people can’t be Black!!! … My best friend is Black and Autistic! You’re the one! You’re the racist!!!”

    Wearily slogging away at an article on Millar’s apparent inability to grasp how fiction works re: minorities, I have to say that the above made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

    Bless you, gentlemen. It really helped.

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